Couch to 5k


One of my new year’s resolutions has been to get fit and lose weight – I am sure like many hundreds and thousands of people. I started back at work on Tuesday 3rd January like most other Brits. Adjusting to work after a long holiday break was a priority. Too easy was it to ignore this promise to myself about getting active.

So, a week passed. I said I’d give myself that time to recuperate and get back into work. Monday morning – nah, I’d sooner hit the snooze button. On Tuesday morning I had a driving lesson at 8am, so I needed to be up. As it so happened, I woke up at about 6pm and I knew if I didn’t get up then, I wouldn’t get up for 8am and my driving lesson. I remember reading something on in the newspapers on Monday morning which said along the lines that ‘today is the day most people will give up their resolution’. I remembered that on Tuesday morning and I was defiant I wouldn’t be one of those people. So, the perfect excuse to start running and get active, proving to myself I could do this.

A while ago, I had heard of this “Couch to 5k” series of podcasts (downloadable here) from the NHS, aiming to get just about anyone off the couch and running 5km in nine weeks. I thought I’d set myself the challenge.

Tuesday morning, I got my MP3 player ready. Unfortunately as I got going, I forgot that when I store media on my SD card (which I did) that the MP3 player stops. Instead I should have stored it directly on the player. Never mind though, I got running. If I say so myself, I didn’t do so bad. I thought I’d take it easy on flat ground initially, build that up and then take it easier downhill, then finally finish with a more intense uphill run. That is what I did around campus.

Later, a work colleague told me of a website called Runkeeper. The great thing about the site is you can track your progress through posting the different activities and plotting the route you take. Runkeeper will show the elevation you took. What is better still, is if you have a smart phone, there’s an app which links to the site and tracks your position via GPS when you undertake an activity. That will monitor your pace throughout on top of automagically plotting your route with elevation, along with your running time. It will give you all the stats for that run.

Here is the route I took on Tuesday morning:

On Friday, I did a more intense run:

That route was much tougher than I can currently handle. The biggest problem was the steepness of the hill, which you can view here. I tried “Couch to 5k” but it was really hard given the great variations of elevation which, being a podcast, it doesn’t take account of. I need some middle ground. By no means was the first run easy. It challenged me, but I need to build from there and then perhaps I can more easily run Friday’s route.

The really nice thing about Runkeeper is you can look at a proposed route and consider the changes of elevation and how well you think you might endure them. Hopefully I can build upon “Couch to 5k”, get more active, fitter and healthier.

As I said in my New Year’s post, I am aware I have put on a few pounds over this past year and have become rather inactive. I joined the university mountaineering club after a friend/work colleague encouraged me to join. I haven’t taken it so seriously as I ought to have done but I plan to attend at least once a week no matter what. I plan to go to the upcoming Pennines trip in a couple of weeks’ time. This month, I am also cutting alcohol from my diet totally (except possibly, Burns’ Night for some Scotch Whisky). I am not a massive drinker, but perhaps I was drinking more frequently last year. I’m also monitoring what I eat in a food diary and I am recording my weight every day in an attempt to lose weight.

You can follow my activities on my Runkeeper profile, here.

***UPDATE: Embed on Runkeeper site doesn’t seem to work – even though I copied and pasted the embed code from the site. Apparently this is a common problem but in time, these embeds should hopefully appear. You can click the link in each of the embeds which will take you to the page. Sorry about that. That is really frustrating.***

***UPDATE 2: 1st Feb 2012 – I have exported all my Runkeeper data to another seemingly better site called Endomondo where my embeds should now work above.***

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